Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc. (AIC), the infrastructure business unit of the Aboitiz Group (PSE: AEV), was granted Original Proponent Status (OPS) by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) on February 26, 2019 for its unsolicited proposal for the upgrade, expansion, operations, and maintenance of the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental.
The PhP42.7 billion project involves capacity augmentation through expansion or construction of new passenger terminals, installation of required equipment, and enhancement and development of airside facilities.
“The granting of the OPS for the Laguindingan Airport opens up an opportunity for us to play a major role in improving our country’s vital gateways. We believe we can be instrumental in connecting our country’s local economies, thereby uplifting the lives of Filipinos. We look forward to progressing beyond project development, and into project execution and operations in 2019,” said AIC Chief Operating Officer Cosette Canilao.
The business sector in northern Mindanao enthusiastically welcomed this progress as they consider the rehabilitation and upgrade of the airport critical to the growth of investments and development of various industries in the region, particularly tourism.
“The airport is a very important factor. We are excited to know that Aboitiz got the OPS. It took us 20 years before this airport was built. We don’t want to wait another 20 years for its expansion,” Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries Region 10 Governor Ghaye Alegrio said.
Alegrio pointed out that the northern Mindanao area got the lion share of the country’s newly registered investments in 2018. “The Board of Investments (BOI) reported that BOI-registered companies last year was about PhP900 billion and 25% of that was in northern Mindanao,” she stressed.
The chamber is also promoting the region’s tourism, with the introduction of new attractions and tourist spots like the Dahilayan Adventure Park in Bukidnon, which boasts as Asia’s longest dual zipline, and the Seven Seas Water Park in Misamis Oriental.
“There are five A’s for strategic investments: arrivals, access, accommodations, attractions, and activities. We might have the attractions and accommodations but we don’t have the arrivals,” Alegrio noted. She lamented the lack of proper infrastructure including airport and seaport, which are urgently needed for all these investments to go forward.
Passenger traffic at Laguindingan Airport has been above the airport’s design capacity of 1.6 million passengers per year from the time the airport began operations in 2013, based on statistics from CAAP. In 2018, an estimated two million passengers passed through this airport.
Alegrio noted that with more investments coming in, traffic is expected to further increase in the coming years. She added there is a big opportunity to cater to international flights.